Cruise Ship Building Boom Thanks to China

By Wendy Laursen 2015-10-12 18:08:05

Norwegian Cruise Line has announced the introduction of the first purpose-built ship customized for the China market in 2017, part of a wider industry push for newbuildings and the Asian market.

Currently under construction at Meyer Werft, the new 4,200 guest ship Norwegian Bliss is designed specifically for the Chinese market with accommodations, cuisine and onboard experiences that cater to the unique vacation preferences of Chinese guests.

The new ship will be the second of Norwegian Cruise Line’s Breakaway Plus class and will be delivered in Spring 2017. Norwegian will take delivery of the line’s first Breakaway Plus class ship, Norwegian Escape, next week on October 22. Two additional ships in this class are on order for delivery in 2018 and 2019.

Like 2014, the last year has seen a flurry of new orders, with most of the established brands now represented in the orderbook, along with newcomers Viking Ocean and newest of all Virgin Cruises.

Following deliveries of six ships in each of 2014 and 2015, 28 ships averaging almost 29,000 lower berths per annum are now on order for delivery during the following three years, 2016-18, reports analyst GP Wild. The seven year stretch of the current orderbook is unprecedented, and it is likely that further vessels will be ordered beyond 2018.

“As well as latent demand built up during the aftermath of the global downturn and the loss of confidence post-Costa Concordia the expansion of the Chinese market is a major driver of fleet growth,” says Peter Wild of GP Wild.

China is expected to eventually become the largest cruise market in the world. From 2012 to 2014, the number of Chinese passengers grew 79 percent per year. In 2014, 697,000 passengers were from mainland China which is almost as many passengers as all other Asian markets combined (701,000).

Carnival Adds More

Earlier this year, Carnival Corporation announced the addition of two ships to its China fleet in 2016. With the two new ships, Carnival’s total capacity in China will increase by an additional 58 percent in 2016, a response to the double-digit annual returns the group is experiencing in China.

Carnival’s fleet of six China-based ships will include expanded offerings from Costa Cruises and Princess Cruises. Together, the brands will potentially offer about four million passenger cruise days in 2016.

Princess Cruises will send its Golden Princess ship to northern China, sailing out of Tianjin on a seasonal basis. Golden Princess joins the brand’s first China-based ship, Sapphire Princess, which has been homeported in Shanghai since 2014 and will start sailing year-round in China in 2016.

The brand’s two-ship deployment in 2016 will more than double its total available guest capacity in China compared to 2015 and includes its exclusive Princess Class experience designed specifically for the Chinese market.

Costa Cruises will debut Costa Fortuna in April 2016 as its fourth ship based in China. Costa Fortuna joins Costa Serena, Costa Atlantica and Costa Victoria already based in China, increasing the brand’s total available capacity in China by 43 percent in 2016.

In addition to expanding its presence in China in 2016, Carnival recently announced that the latest ship under construction for its Princess brand will be based in China year-round when introduced in summer 2017.

Carnival is also exploring potential joint ventures in China with China Merchants Group (CMG) and China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC) designed to accelerate the growth of the overall cruise industry in China, including the possibility of launching a world-class Chinese domestic cruise brand, building new ships in China, and supporting port and infrastructure development.

Royal Caribbean’s Expansion

Royal Caribbean International celebrated the arrival of Quantum of the Seas in Shanghai in June. The vessel will sail on three- to eight-night, roundtrip itineraries, year-round from Shanghai to North Asia destinations.

Quantum of the Seas joined Voyager of the Seas, Mariner of the Seas and Legend of the Seas in China and together reaffirm the brand’s commitment to the Asian market.

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No Fuel Delivered to Yemen

By Reuters 2015-10-12 16:00:36

Yemen only received one percent of its monthly commercial fuel needs during September and Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh asked the UN to assist the nation and allow deliveries.

Yemen relies on the import of fuel, but there has been a near-total blockade led by Saudi Arabia, which has slowed shipments to a trickle. An Arab coalition is inspecting shipments in an effort to thwart arms deliveries to Iranian-backed Houthi rebels.

The Houthis and its allies – forces loyal to former Yemen president Ali Abdullah Saleh, who was overthrown in 2011 – seized the capital city of Sanaa about a year ago.

“In a letter to the U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on 6 October, President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi pledged to allow the import of fuel through all ports,” U.N. spokesman Farhan Haq told reporters on Monday. “Despite this pledge, no commercial fuel has yet been imported, and 11 commercial ships remain anchored off-shore.”

He said the ships were waiting to berth at Al Hudaydah port.

Fuel shortages have spread disease and suffering in arid Yemen, where access to water usually depends on fuel-powered pumps, the U.N. says. Hospitals struggle to operate without fuel and aid cannot be delivered.

The United Nations has designated Yemen as one of its highest-level humanitarian crises, alongside emergencies in South Sudan, Syria and Iraq. It says more than 21 million people in Yemen need help, or about 80 percent of the population.

“Only 1 percent of the monthly requirements for commercial fuel for Yemen were imported through Red Sea ports during September, down from a low 12 percent in August,” Haq said.

During Hadi’s speech to the annual United Nations General Assembly last month, he blamed the Houthis for the blockade and the humanitarian crisis.

Yemen relies on imports for 90 percent of its food, and Haq said commercial food prices had soared about 45 percent.

The United States told U.N. chief Ban that Saudi King Salman had pledged to allow “unfettered access” to all humanitarian aid, including fuel, during a meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama last month.

The United Nations and international rights groups are alarmed at the increasing number of civilians being killed in Yemen, at least 2,355 out of more than 4,500 dead in the past six months.

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Asian Shipping Lines Cut Fees

By Reuters 2015-10-12 12:19:14

Asian shipping lines including Japan’s Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha (“K” Line) and China Shipping Container Lines have voluntarily lowered shipping surcharges, China’s top economic planner said on Monday.

The statement by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) comes after China’s cabinet last month said it was probing shipping firms over allegations that they have been levying arbitrary and excessive charges.

The NDRC said Korea’s Hanjin Shipping and Hyundai Merchant Marine as well as Taiwan’s Evergreen Marine, Wan Hai Lines and Yang Ming Marine Transport Corp were among the firms reducing their surcharges. Japan’s NYK had adjusted its fees on September 15, it added.

The NDRC said the companies would undertake measures such as cancelling fees for some services and lowering documentation and telex release fees.

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Tidal Energy Project Cleared off U.K.

By MarEx 2015-10-12 11:45:24

As industry and government leaders seek new forms of clean, consumable energy, tidal energy production has increasingly been viewed as a viable option. The Isle of Man is closer to harnessing the tides to generate energy as has granted Manx Tidal Energy Ltd a seven-year license to explore the potential for development off its coast. The agreement permits Manx Tidal Energy to determine the practicality and commercial viability of offshore electricity production off the Point of Ayre.

The Isle of Man is a self-governing British Crown dependency in the Irish Sea between England and Ireland. According to a Government study of the Isle of Man’s marine energy resource, the most favorable locations for tidal power generation have been identified off the north coast of the island. The region could produce up to 18 gigawatts of electricity.

The development of an offshore energy hub is one of the Isle of Man’s key strategies to boost its economy. Leasing parts of the Island’s seabed for renewable energy generation could generate more than $6 million per year and create hundreds of operational and maintenance jobs.

In addition to the area off the Point of Ayre, there is the possibility that three additional licenses will be grated off the Isle of Man’s southern coast.

If successful, turbines would be installed to the seabed in locations where there are consistently fast currents. Strong tides generate a constant supply of renewable energy, some of which could be exported to the United Kingdom.

Any development would be subject to government approval and would also require the submission of a full environmental impact assessment.

While the amount of tidal power produced thus far has been limited, there has been increased research and development recently. In August, Kepler Energy announced plans for a 30 megawatt (MW) tidal energy fence to be built in Britain’s Bristol Channel and is partnering with Oxford University’s engineering department to construct it.

The one kilometer-long fence will feature a series of marine turbines which will operate in shallower, slower waters than current designs. With an estimated cost of $220 million, Kepler expects the fence to be operational in 2021.

The world’s first tidal energy farm is located in La Rance, France and the largest facility is the Sihwa Lake Tidal Power Station in South Korea. The United States currently has no tidal plants and only a few sites where tidal energy could be produced at a reasonable price.

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Tidal Energy Project Cleared off UK

By MarEx 2015-10-12 11:45:24

As industry and government leaders seek new forms of clean, consumable energy, tidal energy production has increasingly been viewed as a viable option. The Isle of Man is closer to harnessing the tides to generate energy as has granted Manx Tidal Energy Ltd a seven-year license to explore the potential for development off its coast. The agreement permits Manx Tidal Energy to determine the practicality and commercial viability of offshore electricity production off the Point of Ayre.

The Isle of Man is a self-governing British Crown dependency in the Irish Sea between England and Ireland. According to a Government study of the Isle of Man’s marine energy resource, the most favorable locations for tidal power generation have been identified off the north coast of the island. The region could produce up to 18 gigawatts of electricity.

The development of an offshore energy hub is one of the Isle of Man’s key strategies to boost its economy. Leasing parts of the Island’s seabed for renewable energy generation could generate more than $6 million per year and create hundreds of operational and maintenance jobs.

In addition to the area off the Point of Ayre, there is the possibility that three additional licenses will be grated off the Isle of Man’s southern coast.

If successful, turbines would be installed to the seabed in locations where there are consistently fast currents. Strong tides generate a constant supply of renewable energy, some of which could be exported to the United Kingdom.

Any development would be subject to government approval and would also require the submission of a full environmental impact assessment.

While the amount of tidal power produced thus far has been limited, there has been increased research and development recently. In August, Kepler Energy announced plans for a 30 megawatt (MW) tidal energy fence to be built in Britain’s Bristol Channel and is partnering with Oxford University’s engineering department to construct it.

The one kilometer-long fence will feature a series of marine turbines which will operate in shallower, slower waters than current designs. With an estimated cost of $220 million, Kepler expects the fence to be operational in 2021.

The world’s first tidal energy farm is located in La Rance, France and the largest facility is the Sihwa Lake Tidal Power Station in South Korea. The United States currently has no tidal plants and only a few sites where tidal energy could be produced at a reasonable price.

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China Global Expansion Continues

By MarEx 2015-10-12 11:36:29

Sao Tome and Principe, an African island country located near the equator, and China signed a deal to build an $800 million deep sea port.

China’s state-owned China Harbour Engineering Co. said it will about $120 million in the project and will be responsible for engineering, design and construction of the port. The new deep sea transshipment port will be developed in phases and will be operational in 2019.

Eighty-percent of Sao Tome’s primary export commodity is cocoa, but it also has the potential for developing of hydrocarbons. Sao Tome is located in the oil-rich Gulf of Guinea, which is jointly being developed in a 60-40 split with Nigeria. And while actual production is still years off, the first licenses were sold in 2014.

Constructing a deep sea port in Sao Tome is the second indication of increased Chinese interest in Africa. Last week, reports surfaced that China is eyeing investments in Kenya’s Port of Mombasa and Lamu to expand its Maritime Silk Road vision.

The Port of Mombasa is the busiest in East Africa and serves Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Construction is currently taking place on Port of Lamu, which is part of the transportation corridor between Kenya, Ethiopia, South Sudan and Uganda. When completed, the corridor will be named LAPSET and is expected to facilitate the transport of crude and gas as well as other goods.

The project will include a network of railways, highways, pipelines, power grids for increased international including China.

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